One-third of the American diet is junk food: The other two-thirds don't achieve 100% of the recommended daily allowanceSeptember 24, 2000
The study used data from the well-known third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), which examined eating patterns of among over fifteen thousand American adults. The investigator analyzed consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods, which were defined as foods that do not belong in any of the 5 major food groups: dairy, fruit, grains, meat and beans, and vegetables. These foods include:
- visible fats (butter, margarine, oils, dressings, gravies)
- sweeteners (sugar, syrup, candy, sweetened beverages)
- desserts (cookies, cakes, pastries, ice cream, pudding)
- salty snacks (potato, corn, or tortilla chips)
- miscellaneous (coffee, tea, etc.)
Results show that the average American gets 27 percent of their total daily energy from junk foods and an additional 4 percent from alcoholic beverages. About one-third of Americans consume an average of 45 percent of energy from these foods!
Says lead author Ashima K. Kant, PhD, Associate Professor of Nutrition, Queens College of the City University of New York, "such patterns of eating take both a nutritional and a health toll. Higher the intake of junk foods, lower was the likelihood of meeting current recommendations for a healthy diet or having adequate intake of important vitamins and minerals."
Such patterns of eating may have long-term health consequences. According to a recently published study (JAMA. 2000;283:2109-2115) of over 40,000 women, Kant and colleagues found that women who ate less of the recommended foods were more likely to die from any cause.
In two separate studies of nearly forty thousand women (Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72:922-928) and nearly 45,000 men (Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72: 912-921), those who consumed larger quantities of healthy foods -- like fruits and vegetables -- were less likely to develop heart disease.
Everyone knows that "junk" foods are not healthy; however, there is convincing evidence that too much junk food can actually replace the healthy food your body needs and may lead to life-threatening consequences. It's important to realize that junk foods don't always come from a vending machine or a fast-food restaurant. Many of the foods sold in grocery stores or prepared at home or in restaurants fall under the category of "junk" foods.-end-Source: Public Information Committee for the American Society for Nutritional Sciences and the American Society for Clinical Nutrition.
American Society for Clinical Nutrition/American Society for Nutritional Sciences
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